The complicated legacy of ‘broken windows' policing

"Broken windows policing" evolved into destructive, heavy-handed tactics because its original notions of solving minor problems before they contribute to an atmosphere conducive to serious crimes became misused and distorted. Instead of a focus on high numbers of arrests and "zero tolerance" for any and all perceived misbehavior, this theory of policing was meant to be paired with community-building and problem-solving strategies. When that connection wasn't made, it became synonymous with the kinds of racially disparate enforcement alienating neighborhoods from police.

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